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How to Stay on Track When You Start a New Exercise Program

27 push-ups laterphoto © 2009 marcore! | more info (via: Wylio)With the ringing in of the new year comes new resolutions aplenty. For many, this includes a new determination to finally follow a new exercise regimen. Sadly, by the end of January, most of you will have fallen off track. So just how do you stay committed to your new lifestyle change? Check out these tips to help you keep your abs and your determination rock solid.

1. Sign up for boot camp or small group training. Did you really think we would fail to mention this? By signing up for a weekly class as opposed to a gym, there is a certain level of accountability that comes with the purchase. Not only do you  have to attend these sessions at a certain time, but begin to meet familiar faces that look for you at class. Further, a kick butt workout designed by a dedicated trainer will show you results far quicker than a basic gym routine. It is hard enough to tackle a lifestyle change on your own, why not enlist all the support you can get?

2. Make A Promise . It’s really hard to blow off a commitment you’ve made to lots of people. If you join an athletic event to raise money and you default on your training, you’re not just letting yourself down but also the charity and everyone who sponsored you.

3. Get Out Your Sexiest-Skinny Outfit . Be it a bikini, skinny jeans, or just wanting to rock out a t-shirt, dig it out of the closet and hang it where you can see it. Perhaps it is an outfit you really love and just can’t fit into anymore. Not only is it a visual reminder of what you want to accomplish but it also helps to remind you of how good you felt the last time you wore it.

4. Lift The Weight You’ve Lost . One way to keep yourself from sliding back into sluggishness: use weights that correspond to the amount of weight you have lost. You’ll be reminded how far you have come while you strain to complete three sets of triceps kickbacks with a 10-pound weight. Feel how much you’re struggling to lift? That used to be on your butt! 
If you feel like you can lift more, then start lifting the amount of weight that is your next goal. 15 lbs? Awesome. Once you are there, keep moving up!

5. Get Gabbing . Reams of studies prove that support from other people can keep you motivated to lose weight. And a new study from the University of Kansas shows that dieters who get counseling over the phone lose just as much as those who get it face to face. Want to apply this in your life? Enlist your friends, confidants and family to help you with your challenge. Be it a workout buddy or another friend who you feel comfortable talking with about your struggles, the accountability as well as the encouragement goes a long way towards keeping you on track.

6. Be a cheapskate. Do you blow off going to the dentist or getting a yearly checkup? No. Does having your teeth cleaned sound remotely like fun? No. But you still go, don’t you? Why? Because you’ll get charged whether you show or not. Consider buying a package of personal training sessions and scheduling all your appointments now. Ditto with yoga or dance classes: Buy a bunch in advance and sign up at the same time. Who would throw away workouts that are already paid for?

7. Face Your Reflection . When you feel fat or are currently carrying more pounds than usual, you mostly likely avoid mirrors. Does grabbing clothes that fit and a quick check in the mirror to make sure everything is tucked and zipped sound familiar? Turns out you should do the opposite. A study in the International Journal of Eating Disorders found that mirror-exposure therapy–staring at your bod in the mirror and finding the positive–can improve body image, which, can help keep you committed to healthy eating. Try it: Speak to your reflection without using any negatively charged words. For example, instead of “I have a huge butt,” say, “My waist looks smaller thanks to my curves.”

8. Write down your progress. 
Treat your weight loss or your exercise goals as a serious business. Because, let’s be honest, it is! It takes time, effort, knowledge and dedication. If you’re even vaguely computer savvy, it’s a snap to create a chart with a fever line that shows the pounds dropping away over time. When you get discouraged–say, you haven’t lost a pound in a week–seeing your long-term progress will boost your motivation. 
You can also create similar charts for strength and exercise goals!

9. Score Some Free Stuff
. We all want to save money, right? And since insurance providers want you to stay healthy so you don’t develop expensive diseases like diabetes, some offer perks that make getting fit easier. Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, for example, gives its members discounts to certain gyms and free consultations with a dietitian. Check with your provider.

Sources: http://www.womenshealthmagazine.com

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